College Democrats hope for a secure foothold at SF State


Aaron Levy-Wolins

The College Democrats at SF State officers pose for a photograph at the J. Paul Leonard library at SF State in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. (Aaron Levy-Wollins/Golden Gate Xpress)

In an alcove on the second floor of the campus library gathers a revival. A small group of students huddle around a study space eager to resuscitate political action for college students. Each Wednesday, students meet in what is becoming the reestablishment of the College Democrats of SF State.

Since its inception two years ago, the club disbanded after much of the leadership graduated. The group is now in the process of registered as a student organization, but they’ve already begun meeting and planning events.

A major obstacle to planning events and producing recruitment materials is money. Until the group is approved, the only viable way to receive financial support is through donations or membership dues. But College Democrats of SF State President Joshua Ochoa, 19, said he wants to abstain from asking members to pay dues so as not to dissuade anyone from joining.

Ochoa said he envisions a great future for the club. Last summer he and his colleagues started reinventing the club so it would stay on campus for the long haul.

Ochoa, a junior and double major in political science and environmental studies who was raised in Orange County, decided this year to push for more political activity in a community that he believes is flush with passion for politics.

“In an area that’s not very passionate with politics or activism, and since I was raised in a heavily political household, I wanted to come to SFSU to experience the huge amounts of diversity, activism and political discussion that exists here in San Francisco,” Ochoa said.

Co-founder Josh Ramirez, the political director and English major acts as liaison with the rest of the San Francisco political community.

“Our goal here isn’t to have a tool for the November 2018 elections,” Ramirez said. “Our goal here is to have a lasting organization that can provide a voice for students here.”

Vice President of Finance Aileen Rodriguez and Vice President of Membership Fernando Martinez also joins in on meetings, which are kept short and with few people. Approximately 15 to 20 people currently on the roster, said Ochoa, but the group is planning large scale outreach soon. For now, they rely on word of mouth to attract members.  

“All I can really say is that people are really excited to see young people getting involved, especially in this current political climate,” Ramirez said.

While the group advocates for their political party affiliation, they emphasize openness of other perspectives. According to Ochoa, they want a diversity of members to drive the conversation.

They plan to host a watch party for the midterm election. And they’d like to collaborate with the other political clubs on campus, and possibly merging events related to the midterms elections.